Graduate students experience the legacy of the Land O’Lakes conference

Graduate student attendees at the 2017 Land O’Lakes Conference: Chengbin Huang, Zhenxuan Chen, Shigang Ruan, Yutong (Tony) Tam, Alexa Barres, Pawel Zbyszynski, Karen Chen, Yue Gui.

Graduate student attendees at the 2017 Land O’Lakes Conference. Left-right, back row: Chengbin Huang, Zhenxuan Chen, Shigang Ruan, Yutong (Tony) Tam. Front row: Alexa Barres, Pawel Zbyszynski, Karen Chen, Yue Gui.

Yutong “Tony” Tam, graduate student in the lab of Professor Glen Kwon, Pharmaceutical Sciences Division, and Alexa Barres, a chemistry PhD candidate, working with Professor Sandro Mecozzi’s group, were among 10 graduate students invited to attend the 59th annual June Land O’Lakes Conference on Research & Development.

Hosted by the School’s Division of Pharmacy Professional Development (DPPD) and known worldwide as one of the premier teaching conferences for pharmaceutical scientists addressing formulation topics, the conference allotted seats for student researchers within pharmaceutical sciences to encourage the next generation to explore professional and research interests through professional development opportunities, foster networking with industry professionals, and showcase best practices through faculty experts to facilitate discussions with colleagues from a variety of companies.

The 2017 theme “Material Sciences Based Approaches to Improving Drug Delivery Performance: From Discovery thorough Manufacturing” provided an excellent opportunity for students to learn about the industry side of the field. “The research presentations and Q&A broadened my knowledge of the terms and processes that industry uses as well as how industry functions differently, and sometimes similarly, when compared to academia,” said Barres. Adding, “The conference also provided the environment for me to initiate networking with many leaders in the field and to obtain new ideas for future projects.”

Tam shared, “The conference hugely expanded my horizon in relation to the research and development in the pharmaceutical industry. I learned a lot about pharmaceutical formulations, manufacturing processes and regulatory requirements from the seminars hosted by experts in the field. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to meet with scientists who are currently working in different pharmaceutical companies. This provides me with a more in-depth understanding of drug formulation development in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The 2017 conference was chaired by Ed Elder, PhD, Director of the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station. More than 65 attendees from four continents attended the meeting in mid-June to experience 19 distinct talks within three plenary sessions. Given the success with graduate student attendance, DPPD plans to make seats available in future programs for student practitioners and researchers.